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Methods for Sensing and Discriminating Cardiac Arrhythmias with an Implantable Microsensor Disclosure Number: IPCOM000132273D
Publication Date: 2005-Dec-05

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A small implantable device(s) having sensing means evaluates the electrical morphology and or motion of a stimulation site within a patient’s heart. The sensed information is communicated to another electronic implantable device, e.g., an Automatic Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (AICD), using for example RF signals. Algorithms within the AICD, use the sensed information to distinguish whether the arrhythmic situation is that of supraventricular tachycardia or ventricular tachycardia to avoid unnecessary shocks to the heart. The small device may be implanted via a minimal surgical procedure.

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Methods for Sensing and Discriminating Cardiac Arrhythmias with an Implantable Microsensor

Background of the Invention

    The present invention generally relates to implantable sensing systems and methods, and more particularly relates to implantable sensor systems and methods utilizing one or more implantable sensors for sensing cardiac arrhythmias and communicating the sensed information to another implantable electronic device, e.g., an Automatic Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (AICD).

    Implantable stimulators are used to treat a variety of patient medical conditions and may include sensors for detecting medical conditions. Such stimulators include a microminiature implantable electrical stimulator and sensor, known as the BION® microstimulator. The BION microstimulator has been developed (by Advanced Bionics Corporation of Valencia, California) to overcome some of the disadvantages of traditional leaded systems. In a standard BION device the implantable pulse generator and the electrodes have been combined into a single microminiature package. A standard configuration of the BION device is a cylinder that is about 3 mm in diameter and between about 2 and 3 cm in length. This form factor allows the BION device to be implanted with relative ease and rapidity, e.g., via endoscopic or laparoscopic techniques. With this configuration, the BION device consists of only two electrodes: a reference, or indifferent, electrode at one end of the BION device and an active electrode at the other end of the BION device. In addition, with this configuration, electrical signals delivered to nerves travel away from the stimulation location along the nerve fibers in both directions. The electrodes within the BION device may also serve as the sensing means and the BION device communicates the sensed information, e.g., cardiac arrhythmias, to other implantable electronic devices, such as an Automatic Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (AICD). The AICD can use the transmitted sensed information to


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discriminate between the types of arrhythmia the patient may be experiencing and use the sensed information to deliver effective shock therapy to a patient's heart.

    The teachings of the present disclosure provide a means of sensing the hemodynamic character of a patient's heart with the BION device and communicate this information to an AICD via, e.g., radio frequency (RF) signals. Sensing the heart's hemodynamic character with a BION device would greatly augment the algorithm functions within the AICD and, when necessary, provide a less painful but effective high voltage defibrillating shock therapy to a patient's heart.

    Automatic Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (AICDs) are recommended by cardiologists to patients who are at risk with serious arrhythmias or abnormal heart rhythms which may lead to sudden cardiac death. Sudden cardiac death (SCD) claims approximately 450,000 lives in the U.S. each year. Since the early 1980s, thousands of...